Channel Surfing with C.T.

You know why SAMANTHA WHO? is my household’s favorite new show? Because it isn’t trying to reinvent the long-rumored-to-be-dead comedy genre, it’s just — and this is pretty crucial — funny. Very, very funny. Every performance is spot on. Yes, yes, Melissa McCarthy is basically playing GILMORE GIRLS gal pal Sookie, but I loved that character (before she became a breeding machine) so big whoop. Best of all, SAMANTHA doesn’t settle for the typical sitcom set-up, punch line dialogue, instead offering such witty exchanges as when our heroine apologized for dragging Andrea (the deliciously wicked Jennifer Esposito) into her web of deceit, only to have the bad girl reply, “I’m a lawyer. Web of deceit is where I pick up my mail.” This week’s outing — in which Samantha’s car accident triggered a chain of lies leading to an unexpected twist involving mom Jean Smart — was another sparkling entry, although it would have been nice to see Sam’s in-progress story with Eddie Cibrian continue. Then again, no need to rush things… right?

I tried watching another episode of REAPER last night, and within the first five seconds, Tyler Labine — or rather his character, Sock — was once again ruining the show for me. The guy is a seriously talented actor, but I just can’t stand the walking slacker stereotype he’s playing.Not that his alter ego isn’t completely in keeping with the tone of this show, on which Ray Wise’s devil refers to his minion as a “wienie.” You don’t need to see the scene in which the lead’s two best friends easily convince his girlfriend to bare all in a hot tub to realize who the target audience is here. We’re in what was once Porky’s territory here, where authority figures are to be mocked, feminism is a dirty word and men will be boys.

There’s something kind of kharmicly pleasing when one of the annoying twosomes is eliminated from THE AMAZING RACE. This time around, it was bickering Shana and Jennifer. While they weren’t as bad as some previous contestants, their whiny, bitchy ways had me hoping that the next leg of the race would involve a bus which someone could then throw them under. And yet, such is the power of this show’s closing moments that when the two annoying blondes spoke of having learned so much during their journey and then were shown walking hand-in-hand into the sunset toward a gorgeous windmill, I couldn’t help thinking, “Aww… they’re not that bad!” Especially when compared to Nate and Jen. At various points in the evening, he called her a bitch and said “I just can’t believe what kind of person you’ve turned into. It’s the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life.” Her response? “Same with you, Nate.” At this point, I’m totally rooting for Kynt and Vyxsin, the goth duo who seem not only genuinely nice and loving, but actually take the time to smell the roses. Far too few of the teams seem to do that.

Finally caught the big wedding episode of BROTHERS & SISTERS. I don’t understand why this show refuses to keep a secret for more than two episodes. Wouldn’t the revelation that Justin’s kinda-girlfriend was most recently sleeping in his brother’s bed have had a bigger impact if the newer relationship had been given time to develop? If storylines move to quickly, it becomes an endless succession of plot points with no deep emotional payoff. When Lena sort of hinted what we’ve all been thinking — that Rebecca’s feelings for Justin aren’t exactly of the brotherly love nature — I was extremely pleased… until the end of the episode’s mini thirtysomething reunion between Ken Olin (what the hell happened to him? No wonder he’s taken to directing…) and Patricia Wettig. Does anybody doubt for a minute that his B&S alter ego, David, will turn out to be Rebecca’s real pop? That said, I’m dying to see how the uber-judgmental Walker clan reacts to Justin and Becca going from instasiblings to bed buddies.

I saw one of the first commercials for ABC’s CASHMERE MAFIA the other night. Come on… four chicks walking down the street in total SEX & THE CITY mode and then a clip in which one of them declares to the fiance of their newly engaged friend, “Be good to her or we’ll break every bone in your body.” This is the best you’ve got? Heck, they don’t even say “from the creator of SEX & THE CITY” which is the obvious selling point. I’d bet dollars to donuts the same person who designed the pre-launch campaign for BIG SHOTS was responsible for this… and we all know how well that show’s doing!

ONE LIFE TO LIVE — which was an unholy mess under former headwriter Dena Higley — has become one of daytime’s best soaps under new scribe Ron Carlivati. It is in equal parts funny (please, God, do whatever it takes to get Tuc Watkins — currently doing double-duty thanks to his recurring stint as one of the gay boys on the DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES block — to come back permanently) and engrossing (the “all-roads-lead-to-Paris… Texas” storyline), with a cast of actors who can handle whatever material is dealt to them. If anything, this show has too many blessings, explaining why we practically never see such crowd-pleasing characters as Roxy (the woefully underappreciated Ilene Kristen), although it’s great to see Erika Slezak’s Viki right back where she should be… at the heart of the action. Here’s hoping the writers strike doesn’t throw this show off its game.

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  • nctodc

    Count me among the folks glad to see the blondes gone on The Amazing Race. I’m thorn between cheering for the goths or the brother-sister team.

    I like Reaper, but it’s gotten too predictable for me. Every episode goes like this: Sam gets assignment. Sock and Ben help Sam with the aforementioned assignment, only to have Sam get cold feet about getting them involved in his second job, which he eventually gets over. Soul capturing device malfunctions, but they get it back just in time to capture things and take it to the DMV. And somewhere in there, Sam fawns over Andi. It’s boring.

  • Josh Emerson

    I like Samantha Who, but it isn’t as funny as I thought it would be. I’d say it’s probably my least fave comedy I watch.

    Reaper is somewhat predictable, but I still enjoy it. Ray Wise is great as the devil. If they quit with the Sam/Andi storyline for a while and throw in some interesting twists, the show will be great.

    I don’t have a problem with the speed of the storylines on B&S. It’s still one of the best dramas on TV.

  • Nikole

    Aw Sock is WHY I keep watching Reaper. Like the above posters said it’s pretty predictable but I think Sock is hilarious and The Devil is made of win so I keep tuning in. 🙂

  • Oh finally someone (other than me) who loves Samantha Who in the blogosphere! Though I dont find it THAT hilarious, I DO find it endearing and more of a drama fitted into a sitcom. Still, its one of my new faves.

    I dont know if its Tyler but something is not working for me in Reaper which is to bad because I like the cast.

    And so long blondies! I wont miss you!

  • Userless

    Sock is the best thing about Reaper and this is a show that has a lot going for it, IMHO. Sure, it’s predictable but not any more so than anything else on TV, really. It’s on the best new shows this season.

  • ct

    Userkess: If a show in which the Devil forces someone to capture souls and return them to Hell via the DMV falls into a rut of predictibility in its first season, there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong with the folks behind the scenes.

    I have to say that PUSHING DAISIES is in danger of falling into the same predictable pattern, which is a shame. To be so creative and so predictible at the same time makes for a very schitzophrenic CT.

    Josh: Samantha is your least fave comedy? What, pray tell, tops your list? And while I completely agree that B&S is one of the better dramas on TV, I can’t help but thinking how much better it wouldb e if things were given time to develop instead of plowing desperately forward like a bull in the china shop (that was drinking with the Walker clan).